Nov 21, 2004
What are the different types of hepatitis and how does one get these diseases/disorders?
| Response from Dr. McGovern
Hepatitis A is spread from contaminated food usually. It causes an infection that eventually clears and does not cause long term disease.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread by contact with infected blood. With hepatitis C the most common routes are injection drug use; with hepatitis B the most common routes are injection drug use and sexual transmission. Hepatitis C can also be spread by sexual transmission but this is much less common than with hepatitis B which can be easily transmitted sexually.
Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause chronic disease. About 5 percent of patients infected with hepatitis B become chronically infected; about 75-80% of patients with hepatitis C become chronically infected. These patients with chronic infection can develop advanced liver disease, especially in the setting of alcohol use. Dr. McGovern
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